An artist inspired by the underrated female form

by Giuliana Bruno / Beacon Correspondent • September 21, 2016

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Taylor Roberts is a visual and media arts major and artist
Courtesy of Taylor Roberts
Taylor Roberts is a visual and media arts major and artist
Courtesy of Taylor Roberts
Have you ever had an emotion bubbling inside you, but you’re unable to find the words to express it? One Emerson student has found the medium through which she can let her feelings flow.
 
Taylor Roberts, a junior visual and media arts major, needs only a small drawing pad and Photoshop to enter a world full of emotion and expression. Her drawing pad acts essentially as a piece of digital paper. She will freehand or trace over a photo and use Photoshop to add color and life to the illustration.
 
Roberts seldom has a specific vision when she is about to embark on a creative journey. However she tends to lean toward certain themes.  
 
“I like to deal with the female form a lot, and just draw a lot of nude women, just because it’s fun, and I think a little less explored...something I’m familiar with by having a female form,” she said. 
 
Roberts said creating art allows her to ease the rising tension she feels about issues in today’s society. 
 
“I do tend to draw women of color a bit more, because I am one, and I feel like they need to be represented more,” said Roberts. “It feels more natural to draw people who look like me.”  
 
One of Roberts’ beautiful drawings that captures this concept is displayed on both her Instagram (cartoong00n) and Tumblr (taylorroberts.tumblr.com). It shows a nude woman of color in four different poses.  Each pose overlaps with the next, as if the subject in the drawing is dancing.  On her Tumblr, it was posted with the caption, “the process of falling in love with yourself.”  
 
Though Roberts does not create much political art, she recalled one time where she felt extremely compelled to do so: “I did draw one thing of Donald Trump because I was binging ridiculous things he said on YouTube...he doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said. “The drawing I did of him took like ten minutes.  It was really fun to put all my confused emotions on one thing.”  
 
This drawing, featured on her Instagram account, displays a big-headed, wrinkly Trump with his signature macaroni colored hair.  A speech bubble hovers above him, with the words “I’m gonna eat this,” referring to a little Earth he hold in his hands. The Earth has its own speech bubble, which contains nothing more than a tiny question mark. Roberts’ baffled feelings toward Donald Trump ooze from this drawing: from the unflattering figure she created for him to his intimidating words toward the Earth.
 
Roberts draws much of her inspiration from artists she follows on Instagram.  
 
“I really like Sara Andreasson..she has a really cool clientele.  She’s done illustrations for Apple and MTV and other magazines.”  It is clear to see why Roberts takes inspiration from this artist, as she also utilizes bright colors and patterns to create cartoonish-yet-realistic drawings of people, including both nude figures and women of color.  Roberts and Andreasson carry a similar vibe, yet are both very unique in how their art is executed. 
 
She has also done work for many Emerson students, creating vibrant illustrated portraits based on photos they give her.  Roberts began by posting in the “Free and for Sale” group on Facebook, offering to create drawings of those interested for $3 each. Many interested students responded. “I got to meet a lot of new people,” she said, “so many people just enjoy seeing themselves in a different way.”
 
Hannah Carpenter, a senior visual and media arts major, is a recipient of Roberts’ work. “I had a profile picture of myself in the desert outside of LA, and I asked her if she could draw that and include flowers from Andy Warhol’s Screen Print Flowers,which is my favorite art piece and also my tattoo.” Besides this portrait, Carpenter has asked for Roberts’ assistance as part of her BA thesis film. “I knew I would need to do some fundraising, and I knew I wanted a drawing for it.  I trust my own hand, but I know that Taylor is a better drawer than myself.” Carpenter had Roberts design a tee shirt, which she will sell as part of a fundraiser for her BFA thesis. 
 
Roberts has been drawing ever since she was “able to pick up a pen or a pencil,” but her first real opportunity to put her passion into practice was last year as an illustrator for Your Magazine at Emerson. This was when Roberts’ love for art really took speed. She now serves as the Arts Director for Your Magazine.
 
Roberts said she wishes to make changes with fine arts here at Emerson because she feels those who have similar interests to her’s are often neglected.
 
“I do want to uplift a lot of voices. I’ve been thinking about starting something at Emerson,” Roberts said.  She wants to start a club at Emerson for students like her who enjoy drawing, but have few chances to use their talents on campus.
 
She recognizes that Emerson is an excellent arts school, but thinks it lacks in opportunities for those interested in painting, drawing, or other fine arts. Roberts wants to improve this by creating a magazine where artists can illustrate whatever they want, without the restriction of drawing to accompany some other piece.  
She hopes to incorporate her talents into a career someday. “My first goal is to make a sustainable living off of doing this. I have some artists that I admire their careers where they’ll draw things for advertisements and marketing, and then they’ll also do cartoons.”  Roberts wants to illustrate for her own cartoon someday, a “Steven Universe-esque sort of thing.”
 
Roberts wants to start working on her cartoon this year, brainstorming characters and plot lines for a series.  She is inspired by a love for watching cartoons. “I can boil every life situation down to a Spongebob reference,” Roberts bragged.
 
As she continues her Emerson journey, and the journey beyond, she is driven by motivated inspiration and a love for illustrating.  Her passion for societal issues and attentiveness to the world around her provides a solid platform for entering the working world.  
 
Roberts is an easy-to-talk-to, relaxed personality. “If anyone has any questions they can just find me on the street,” said Roberts. “You could say, ‘she’s pretty chill,’ and I’d say, ‘yeah, you’re right!’ ”